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Football: BIG-TIME JIBE WAS GRET WAY TO LIFT US; GRETNA 4 ALLOA 0.

IF Gretna boss Rowan Alexander was in any doubt about the reaction he'd get from his players after labelling them big time Charlies, 10 goals in two games should be enough to shut him upOr at least Davie Nicholls is hoping so.

After watching his side blow a three-goal lead at Partick Thistle a fortnight ago, Alexander accused his ex-SPL players of thinking they were far too good for the Second Division.

Those words hurt like hell and some of the older heads in the Gretna dressing room were determined to make their boss eat his words.

A 6-2 drubbing of Preston Athletic in the Scottish Cup last week and putting four past Alloa without reply on Saturday was just the kind of response Alexander was looking for.

Nicholls,who was determined to make the most of his return to the side,said: "The gaffer was raging after the Partick game.I think he said what he had to say but we obviously wanted to go out the following week and show him we weren't big-time Charlies.

"We put in a good performance last week and today we were totally professional so I don't think the gaffer can have any cause to come back at us now.

"There are a lot of guys in our dressing room with a lot of pride who have played in the SPL. Every player is a leader. It's brilliant for the gaffer to have that" It's a chilling message for therest of the Second Division and there were times on Saturday when you actually felt sorry for under-pressure boss TomHendrieand his bottom of the table Alloa side.

They were barely out of their own half for the entire game and in 19 minutes James Grady curled a delightful 25yarder into the top corner.

The inevitable second came when Gavin Skelton's teasing cross saw Kenny Deuchar score with a glancing near-post header.

After the break David Bingham crossed for Ryan McGuffie to head home at the back before Mark Birch scored with a cross-cum-shot late on.

Alexander said: "It was a professional display today. I'm delighted at the response I got from my players.Their attitude towards the concerns we raised has been exceptional.

"It gets harder every week because inexperienced players look at it and wonder when we're going to drop points or go through a sticky patch.

"It's our job to make sure it doesn't happen and at this moment the signs aren't there that it is happening."

Alloa boss Hendrie said: "They're clearly a very good side and a certainty to win the league.

"We were a little unlucky but when you're down at the bottom you don't get the breaks. Four-nil flattered them a little bit because I don't think we were that bad

CAPTION(S):

BINGO HOLLER Bingham, right, hails scorer Grady
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 28, 2005
Words:472
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